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HSBC facing potential trial in France for tax fraud

November 14, 2016

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In the latest tax evasion developments in France, the investigation into HSBC for alleged tax fraud has culminated in prosecutors calling for the firm to face trial. This follows the formal launch of enquiries back in April 2015 which focused on looking into the possibility that the company’s Swiss subsidiary helped customers hide assets from French authorities.

These claims initially came about following the exposure of documents from a former HSBC employee, Hervé Falciani, that highlighted how the company’s Swiss branch was helping customers dodge taxes. While the firm continues to defend itself, the fact that it is also facing similar investigations by other global authorities – including in Belgium and Argentina – suggests there are tough times ahead for HSBC’s Swiss banking arm.

Indeed, HSBC recognises the potential for even more investigations to be launched, releasing a statement claiming that:

“In light of the media attention regarding these matters, it is possible that other tax administration, regulatory or law enforcement authorities will also initiate or enlarge similar investigations or regulatory proceedings.”

While at the time of writing, magistrates were yet to decide whether to proceed with the charges, this latest news is yet another to add to the list of international firms facing investigation by tax authorities seeking to reclaim lost payments. Apple and Microsoft have also found themselves on the wrong side of the law in France in recent months, with both firms’ headquarters raided as part of on-going investigations.

With such high profile brands facing scrutiny in the country and indeed other international locations, it’s perhaps fair to say that no one is safe when it comes to tax fraud. If you’re a contractor working across borders, it’s arguably now more important than it has ever been to remain compliant with local legislation. If you fail to do so, you are likely to face extensive fines or even criminal charges. Speak to the team today to find out how we can help you stay on the right side of the law in your chosen destination.

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